I grew up on stand-up comedy, so I know a thing or two about Judaism. I also learned quite a bit from that one episode of Rugrats. Still, new things catch my attention all the time when I study the Bible. That’s how it’s supposed to be, by the way. You change and grow as a person, so you should be learning new things constantly, even reading the same text. That’s why it’s important to make study a regular part of your life. You’ll never have it all figured out.
Anyhoodle, every now and again I find a silly little so-and-so who asks me a goofy question like “Why don’t you celebrate Jewish holidays?” It’s usually followed up with more pointed questions about why I eat shellfish and do I think women should be forced to marry their rapists, etc etc.
Offensive as those questions are probably intended to be, they do get me thinking sometimes. Yeah, I don’t celebrate Passover, in the traditional sense. But I DO celebrate Passover. Allow me to explain-
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
The slave does not remain in the house forever.
So, let’s rewind. Like all the way back.
Exodus 5 (super condensed version)
Moses goes to the Pharaoh and asks if everyone can have a couple days off to worship God. Pharaoh says no (cause he thinks he’s god) and starts cracking down hard on the Jews as punishment for their insolence. He tells them they have to make bricks while intentionally withholding what they need to make bricks, beating those who fail to produce. Not good. Also he’s standing in the way of them worshipping God and seeking atonement. Stupid move, Pharaoh.
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.
11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
That was a lot of detail, right? Like a shocking amount of detail and specificity. There are all sorts of reasons for each of the things listed out in there, but there’s one section that doesn’t get much attention, so that’s the bit I want to talk about.
Eat it with your loins girded, shoes on your feet, staff in your hand…and eat it fast.
I honestly don’t think I ever really noticed that section before, but this year it’s jumping off the page at me and not just because I made it bold.
IT’S TIME TO GO.
The Promised Land.
The slave does not remain in the house forever, and when God says you’re free, you can take that to the bank. You can be so completely assured that it’s as good as done, that you better put your shoes on. God claims His people.
The Promised Land. Sure, in the big Heaven afterlife sense, but in the more immediate sense, as well. It’s being in that sweet spot of God’s providence, when you’re fully in the game and doing the work He has set aside just for you. There’s nothing to wait for. Your eternal life begins the moment you possess the Holy Spirit. Gird your loins and get to it.
I don’t celebrate passover, as in the Jewish traditions and feast that commemorate an historic event of God freeing Jewish slaves from Egypt. But I do celebrate passover by remembering an important promise of God- He claims his people, and in Him we are free. And as a free person, I’ve got stuff to do.